Jerrybrice's Blog
The intersection of animation, entertainment, and politics

Is This Comic More Racist Than ANY of Mine?College Students Are Upset

Why Is This A Racist Cartoon...

Why Is This A Racist Cartoon...

As many of my followers may know, I am the author and illustrator of a racially, and socially incendiary comic strip called No Joke! It ran for 5 years in the Urb and Source hip hop magazines in the early 90’s. I stopped doing it on a regular basis to concentrate on my animation development and production business.

I have recently started it up again, and I have been promoting it on the internet on this blog, and several social network outlets, to get it back on people’s radar.

We never got censored at Urb, but censorship is what the Source was all about in those years, and they effectively brainwashed urban America in to thinking that Harvard graduates were actually authorities on hip hop, let alone black America.

They were so corny, they would sit around a discuss how to re-write my work, which just made working with them a hateful experience.

The Source made New York and the whole east coast look foolish, and their followers bought in to it.

Now we got Puff Daddy, and all the rest of his ilk.

The strip was meant to be controversial, be not disrespectful,…well, that is up for discussion, but, I was making everyone think, and that is what I am still up to.

I was shut down by the editors of the Source several times, because they deemed the content of my strip to be racially insensitive…to black people.

The network did not run the animated version of my strip because the black employees at MTV, who brought me to MTV, thought I was being insensitive.

I was not, and I did not change a thing. We just walked away from those deals, and got on with life.

In one instance, instead of changing the words that were deemed racist, I just returned the money, because I could.

Recently, the Sept. 25 issue of The Rocket contained a syndicated cartoon strip that depicted a black man being lynched. The white men standing around were asked if he had been hanged because he was black, with the white man responding that he was “playing the race card.”

A cartoon from “The K Chronicles” has caused quite a bit of controversy on the campus of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, after it was published in last Friday’s edition of the school’s student-run newspaper, “The Rocket.”

 In fact, many are screaming racism, but what I found amazing is that they are focusing on one small portion of the cartoon — a drawing of a black man hanging from a noose saying,”You’re doing this because I’m black, aren’t you?” while white characters accuse him of playing the race card.”

 According to media reports, the cartoon even led some students to go the Student Union with nooses around their necks. Newsflash to all the protesters — the cartoon’s author, Keith Knight, is an African American who was making a political satire comment on the state of race relations in this country.

I think he made his point cleverly, and clearly, and the artwork is funny.

We need to open our hearts and minds to satire, if it is designed to enlighten us to a higher level of awareness. The people that need to receive this communication, and I mean of all races, will be able to understand that not every depiction of a lynching, or KKK hooded character, is meant to harm us, but yet, as in this case, as in my strips with similar content and tone, it is meant to illustrate in a cute approachable way, what is basically a foul and complete failure to be.

I say we should make fun of these situations rather than stay away from them, because this is our history, not theirs.

If we continue to protest everything artistically involved with race, then I can clearly understand the resistance not to produce any ethnic characters. We can not please everyone, and we must come to a point where we understand that we all have a different approach, but the same common goal.

It is not logical to think that I, Mr Knight, or any other black cartoonist is trying to insult our own people in any way, but yet, my messages are more along the lines of Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Ahmen Rahh, and Muhammad Ali,and many of our people would prefer the message to be delivered like Martin Luther King or Jessie Jackson.

The goal is the same, but please allow us, black ,white, brown, yellow, etc. to test the levels of edginess in the delivery of our comics, without being afraid of some ultra conservative response.

This year Disney is releasing a film featuring for the first time a Black Disney Princess, and I am trepedatious as to what the response will be to the black characters design.

Predictably, she will be too black, or too white, her hair will be pressed, and she will probably be a European character painted black, like the black Barbie dolls. I will understand this, simply because the designers are not all black, which will lead to a visual stereotype, but they did hire a couple black artist to work on it. I believe out of the 500 artist that worked on it, 4-5 were African American, and that qualifies it to be considered a black film.

Don’t tell me about the black actors voicing the characters, because that was something that had to be done.

The same goes for the ”Cleveland” series.

If my fellow black artist can not express ourselves freely to our people by way of producing our one man staffed comics, then I can guarantee you that the brainwashing of your children by black images in cartoons will not be thwarted.

I support the K chronicles, and encourage the students at Slippery Rock to move on to a more salient civil rights battle. The black cartoonist/entrepreneur has the whole world to battle .

In closing I say this, If I am against my own people, then I am against myself….and I love myself, and you too.

No Joke MTV promo censored by African American staff at MTV. Why?

2 Responses to “Is This Comic More Racist Than ANY of Mine?College Students Are Upset”

  1. I definitely agree on your point with the K chronicles. At the same time I can see how an exec @ MTV wouldnt want to put on the ‘Drive by Shoutings’ skit. Presumably they could have given editorial input BEFORE you went through all the hard work of animating. Throwing out the N-word epithet at a mainstream audience is cause for someone to get fired. They knew that and took the safe route. Now the Source censoring you is ridiculous. The Source is(was) supposed to be the bible of Hip-hop and confrontation and unfettered social truth is part of the tradition. The source lost touch with that and ultimately lost their relevance on the culture.

    • Yes,I hear you man, and you are right about the editorial input thing…best to do that before we make the deal.
      I had published about three years of comics,and MTV’sJudy Mgrath and Abby Terkuhle personally
      picked that one strip to produce.
      That slice of life happens a lot, and in no way presents the situation in a comedic way.
      They paid us 20 g’s to do it in 1994…
      I have to strongly disagree with you here, obviously, because I know that black cartoons were minimalized, as they are now, to buffonery, and a lot of stupid ish, that could have been done for ”white” cartoons. No balls at all. The corny commission won.

      I was at the MVA’s that year in NY, where it was to premiere that night on the show, and then they got nervous.Prior to that, they were all with it.
      After that sad situation, I began to really understand a lot of what Ralph Bakshi had told me about what happened with the release of some of his earlier films being picketed, and boycotted by our people. I happen to think ”CoonSkin” and ”Heavy Traffic” etc. moved the culture forward. It was a shame that his best movies were minimalised because of the fear from his distribution company being labeled as racist by Al Sharpton, who I respect.
      Ralph Bakshi is no bigot, he is a brilliant artist, and my comic is not racist at all. Maybe we will actually be able to be dope 40 years from now, because a lot of black cartoons, except yours…are corny as hell…Your cartoon and the Terrance Anthony one are the only cool black cartoons out, and they are independent.That’s the lesson.
      I know that artist and entertainers are always better when we push the conversation and culture forward, rather that run away from progress…
      Black cartoons and cartoonist have been weakly comprimised because we constantly have our true identity censored, and simply unexposed, and I
      see that we are the one’s stopping progress…I have been waiting for society and our culture to take the chains off grow up and move forward…

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